Relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Citizenship implies the status of freedom with accompanying responsibilities. Citizens have certain rights, duties, and responsibilities that are denied or only partially extended to aliens and other noncitizens residing in a country. In general, full political rights, including the right to vote and to hold public office, are predicated upon citizenship. The usual responsibilities of citizenship are allegiance, taxation, and military service.

Citizenship is the most privileged form of nationality. This broader term denotes various relations between an individual and a state that do not necessarily confer political rights but do imply other privileges, particularly protection abroad. It is the term used in international law to denote all persons whom a state is entitled to protect. Nationality also serves to denote the relationship to a state of entities other than individuals; corporations, ships, and aircraft, for example, possess a nationality.

The concept of citizenship first arose in towns and city-states of ancient Greece, where it generally applied to property owners but not to women, slaves, or the poorer members of the community. A citizen in a Greek city-state was entitled to vote and was liable to taxation and military service. The Romans first used citizenship as a device to distinguish the residents of the city of Rome from those peoples whose territories Rome had conquered and incorporated. As their empire continued to grow, the Romans granted citizenship to their allies throughout Italy proper and then to peoples in other Roman provinces, until in AD 212 citizenship was extended to all free inhabitants of the empire. Roman citizenship conferred important legal privileges within the empire.

The concept of national citizenship virtually disappeared in Europe during the Middle Ages, replaced as it was by a system of feudal rights and obligations. In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the holding of citizenship in various cities and towns of Italy and Germany became a guarantee of immunity for merchants and other privileged persons from the claims and prerogatives of feudal overlords. Modern concepts of citizenship crystallized in the 18th century during the American and French Revolutions, when the term citizen came to suggest the possession of certain liberties in the face of the coercive powers of absolutist monarchs.

The principal grounds for acquiring citizenship (apart from international transactions such as transfer of territory or option) are birth within a certain territory, descent from a citizen parent, marriage to a citizen, and naturalization. There are two main systems used to determine citizenship as of the time of birth: jus soli, whereby citizenship is acquired by birth within the territory of the state, regardless of parental citizenship; and jus sanguinis, whereby a person, wherever born, is a citizen of the state if, at the time of his birth, his parent is one. The United States and the countries of the British Commonwealth adopt the jus soli as their basic principle; they also recognize acquisition of nationality by descent but subject it to strict limitations. Other countries generally adopt the jus sanguinis as their basic principle, supplementing it by provisions for acquisition of citizenship in case of combination of birth and domicile within the country, birth within the country of parents born there, and so on. The provisions of nationality laws that overlap often result in dual nationality; a person may be a citizen of two countries. Alternatively, the lack of uniform rules on citizenship acquisition and loss have sometimes produced lack of citizenship (statelessness).

The acquisition of citizenship by a woman through marriage to a citizen was the prevailing principle in modern times until after World War I. Under this system, the wife and children shared the nationality status of the husband and father as head of the family. From the 1920s, under the impact of woman suffrage and ideas about the equality of men and women, a new system developed in which a woman’s nationality was not affected by marriage. The resulting mixed-nationality marriages sometimes create complications, particularly in regard to the nationality status of the children, and accordingly various mixed systems have been devised, all stressing the woman’s and child’s freedom of choice.




Citizenship under Indian Constitution

Article 5 made certain persons as Indian citizens at the time of the commencement of Indian Constitution. The first condition to be an Indian Citizen is of „domicile‟ i.e. a person has domicile in the territory of India.

The term „domicile‟ has not been defined in the Indian Constitution. „Domicile‟ means the place where a person‟s habitation is fixed without any present intention of moving there from. Every person has a domicile at his birth called the domicile of origin. The domicile of origin remains unchanged until the person acquires a new domicile, i.e. by actually settling in another country with the intention of permanently residing there. Till then the domicile of origin continues even if he has left the country with an intention of never returning again. The onus to prove that a person has changed his domicile of origin lies upon him.  It has been held by the Supreme Court that there must be factum and animus to constitute the existence of domicile in India. Similarly, the Supreme Court said in Louis Raedt v Union of India , that the person should show his appropriate state of mind required for acquisition of domicile by choice.

In Pradeep Jain v Union of India , the Supreme Court held that there is only one domicile in India. The court said that the domicile does not change with the change of residence within India.

A minor or married person does not have the legal capacity to make a change of domicile. Therefore, a minor carries the domicile of his father and a married woman gets the domicile of her husband.

Both Articles 6 and 7 use the term „migrated‟. The meaning of the term „migrated‟ came into consideration of Supreme Court in Kulathi v State of Kerala . The majority held that the word „migrate‟ was used in a wider sense of moving from one country to another with the qualification that such movement was not for a short visit or for a special purpose.

Article 8 provides for the Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India. Article 9 provides that no person shall be a citizen of India by virtue of Article 5, or be deemed to be a citizen of India by virtue of Article 6 or Article 8, if he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign State. It deals only with voluntary acquisition of citizenship of a foreign state before the Constitution came into force. Under Article 10 Parliament may take away the right of citizenship of any person.

Citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955

Parliament has enacted the Citizenship Act, 1955, to provide for the acquisition and determination of Indian Citizenship. The Act provides for acquisition of Indian citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution in five ways, i.e., birth, descent, registration, naturalization and incorporation of territory.

Citizenship by Birth

A person acquires citizenship by birth if he is born on or after 26th January 1950 but before 1st July, 1987. In this case, there is no need to determine the nationality of his parents. But in case where he born on or after 1st July,1987 but before 3rd December, 2004, it is necessary that either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth. After 3rd December, 2004, he acquires citizenship by birth if both the parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth. An „illegal migrant‟ means a foreigner who entered India without a valid passport or documents or remains in India beyond the permitted period of time.





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